Alpair 12P Gen. 2 (paper cone)
To be practical (I hope), I've started a new thread as we are now in the final pre-production stages for the second generation Alp12's. From my memory, its a little over 3 years since the first gen. driver was made so its taken a long time to get the siblings off the deck.
The Next Gen. Alpair 12 Community Development thread is the big influence on the new generation drivers. I'll close this thread in the next week or so as its largely done its job:
Condensing the various feedback and our efforts to date, for the Gen. 2 drivers the goals are:
1 - Raise SPL above 90dB
2 - Increase frequency range (where possible)
3 - Increase Vas
4 - Reduce Mms
5 - Improve the power-train suspensions
6 - Produce a paper cone alternative to metal
I'll be ready to publish the final pre-production data in the next few days, although theres only marginal change from the last set published in the Next Gen Community thread. Of greater importance at this stage are the series of listening events. This post is my summary of the first event, myself, Norio Nakajima San and Jeff Taniguchi San as the first listeners.
Source = Denon DCD S10-3
Amps = Derek Shek's Mnwatt N3, Tony and Kenneth's custom SET 300B and Accuphase E-307
Cabinets = Linfof's Japanese solid White-Birch Pensil 12's (Osaka Japan)
Drivers = Pre-prod. Alpair 12P (Batch 2 SSE cones - 10 press with 027 stiffening agent - 1 pass final coating). PoYun hybrid balanced 0.6+ paper wrap coil body with 16-mm CCAW winding. Masubara- san 0.16 hybrid extended spider, Lu Yi Ping 05 EI tri-mix front suspension.
Room = living area, fully furnished and deep carpeted (well damped).
Time on drivers prior to listening event = 2.2 hours.
Music - see pic.
Briefly, this first event lasted 4 hours with various amp combinations. I hope Norio has time to post his impressions so for now I'll summarise my opinion and thinking.
First, this is a radical departure from the Gen. 1 driver. The 12P has an Mms of 10g, down from 16g on the old driver, a radical reduction is mass of the Power-Train. The New paper cone is emitting 22-kHz @ 90dB before falling away, some 4-kHz greater range than the Gen. 1 driver. SPL is up at 92dB, an increase of 3bD from the old driver.
For me personally, its difficult to know where to begin as I personally took some radical steps on the design of the cone profile and the coil, in order the achieve the desires given in past feedback. This driver goes allot further than anything I've made to date, that includes the current Alpair 7.
For me, the night's listening for me was pure magic. Seiji Ozawa San conducting the Saito Kinen orchestra, playing Berlioz 2nd movement of the Symphonie Fantastique (Decca) is simply stunning. I quite literally held my breath for the first several seconds, the harp with strings section shimmered. The hairs on my neck stood on end. The presence this driver creates on classical strings without the harshness, for me, is sublime, far beyond my expectations. Dianne Reeves's Christmas Time Is Here (Blue Note) is breathy. Her voice is totally 3 dimensional. The 12P repeats every nuance is her rendition. The slam percussion by the 12P is super fast on George Benson's Beyond The Blue Horizon (Columbia Classic).
This is by far the most micro-emittance and compliance sensitive driver I've ever made. It become evident from the night's listening and experimentation, this is a driver strictly for the audiophile and music connoisseur.
1 - It will punish poor recorded or overly compressed source material.
2 - It will demand good clean (purist) low-power amplification. This isn't a "rock un roll driver"
3 - Likely best in big cabs, give it some air.
For me, Derek's 3.5 watt N3 was the best match, followed by Tony and Kenneth's 300B. I suspect the 300B could have overtaken the N3 if it had some softer input valves (tubes). The Accuphase was too powerful (100 watts class A/B) although with restraint on the volume control, it did well. Overall, this is a driver for the lower power classic warm Valve amps (EL-84, 2a3, 300B, et.al). Would also be interesting to hear them on the latest lower power class D and T's.
I'll start to add more information on this thread over the coming days.
Your initial impressions are very positive - this is good news for us. :). Frankly speaking I couldn't have imagined 22 KHz @90 dB on the paper cone. The driver's performance is impressing you, and you've made quite a few good ones. Bravo! You mentioned slam percussion was super fast, how do you find bass weight and overall LF response?
Keep the updates coming.
Thanks for the good wishes. Yes, this is a far more sensitive driver. I hope to get Tony, Kenneth and a few more guys over to Norio's place next week for a second listening session. Let's see what they think.
Bass was good for my tastes. But I'm not into heavy loud low noise of typical sub-woof sort. The 12P is pushing allot more air and going lower (Fo = 40Hz on these pre-production units). However, I've had no time to optimise the cabinets so likely the Linfof Pensil's are a bit small.
This one could be my very first MA speaker purchase...HURRY UP!
you'll need some NA beta testers, I think
Sounds like a real winner and should bring in a whole new crowd with the higher sensitivity. Darn exciting.
\o/ exciting news :cool:
I promise to do my best on timing. For those in N. America, please talk to Brian , Adam or the Madisound sales team. I'll be feeding into to Brian in the coming days as he's asked me about the supply situation.
I just want to sure I've done a descent job before letting this driver loose on the market. Promise I'll keep you all posted.
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